A new state-of-the art poultry facility offering specialty, industry-focused research into both laying hen and broiler health, welfare, behavior and productivity was opened Jan. 24 at the University of Bristol Veterinary School in the U.K.
The new facility forms part of the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), a consortium comprising 12 research institutes across the U.K., funded by Innovate UK, to develop new industry-needed solutions as well as commercial trial farms for real-world results.
The new CIEL poultry facility, which features fully monitored and controlled hatching housing, complements Bristol's existing specialist facilities for cattle, pigs, sheep and aquaculture, the announcement said.
“Bristol Veterinary School has world-class expertise and over three decades of experience working with industry to help address the challenge of livestock health and welfare and production. This new facility marks a step change by providing the very best research facilities to improve poultry welfare and sustainable productivity,” Bristol Veterinary School head Richard Hammond said.
Dr. Andy Butterworth, poultry specialist research lead at the University of Bristol, added, “The unit will help extend our collaborative work on housing design and welfare assessment to develop innovative ways to optimize egg production and business performance through improved health, welfare and nutrition as well as bridging the gap between commercial systems and small-scale experimental units, combining industry standard housing with poultry monitoring, at a flock and an individual level.”
CIEL is one of the U.K.’s four Agri-Tech Centres established as a key pillar of the government’s Agri-Tech Strategy. They are funded through Innovate UK, the U.K.’s strategic innovation agency, and are a partnership between industry and academia.
CIEL works with 12 of the U.K.’s leading livestock research institutions and a group of industry members spanning the entire food supply chain, from farmers to processors to retailers. CIEL aims to use these collaborative partnerships to enhance and accelerate business-led innovation as well as inspire and identify opportunities that could lead to the development of new products, services and techniques that can benefit the entire supply chain.